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Dissecting Hemingway and Nick Adams
Saturday, March 11, 2023


Local scholar Ted Dyer will look at a couple of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories during the Hailey Public Library’s new Lunch & Learn program on Tuesday, March 14 and March 21.

The free discussion will be held from noon to 1 p.m. t Hailey Town Center West.

This week’s program will look at the Nick Adam story “The Battler;” the next will look at “Big Two-Hearted River.”

“ ‘The Battler’ is an uneasy story of a stowaway thrown off a train in the dark. The young man stumbles into a forest meeting two men at their campfire, an African American and a ‘crazy’ former boxing champion,” said Kristin Fletcher, the library’s programs and engagement manager.

The program, which is supported by the Idaho Humanities Council, will be livestreamed in addition to being offered in person.

“Author Ernest Hemingway profoundly influenced 20th century fiction and made a lasting impact on the Wood River Valley community, arriving in 1939 and dying by his own hand in Ketchum in 1961,” said Fletcher. “In the years since his death, many local presentations and conferences have celebrated and explored his work but few have focused on his short stories.”

The stories will be used as a starting point to discuss the archetypal "Hemingway hero," the filter through which the stories' experiences flow. First, we meet Adams first as a child, then as an adolescent and, finally, as a young man returning from war.

Dyer will use the stories to unpack Hemingway's language toolkit, examine the power of his bare bones prose style and reflect on Hemingway's "iceberg theory" of writing. The series will also touch on Hemingway's association with the Wood River Valley community, as well as his larger impact as a fiction writer. 

“Ted is steeped in the Nick Adams stories and uncovers remarkable nuances worthy of our attention,” Fletcher said.

Dyer received his MA in English from Washington State University and taught 20 years as a composition instructor for the College of Southern Idaho extension service in Blaine County. He also taught literature and jazz history for the Idaho State University Department of Continuing Education.  He has been been a speaker for the Idaho Humanities Speakers’ Bureau for decades and is a recognized speaker on the life and works of Ernest Hemingway.

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